Bully sticks: These are one of the most popular dog chews today. Made of beef pizzle (yes, that means penis), they are dense, flavorful and come in various sizes. Bully sticks are among the longest lasting of the safer chews, and dogs love the taste and texture. For aggressive chewers, braided bully sticks tend to last longer. The negative thing about bully sticks is that they can be a bit costly and they stink pretty badly. In addition, some experts worry about their safety from contamination with bacteria. Seek out bully sticks from reputable sources. And, try low odor bully sticks to save your nose.
This psychological approach will tell your dog what not to chew on while offering alternate options. It works because it is a positive way to handle the issue, and dogs seem to learn better this way. Next time your dog goes for his favorite table leg, catch him in the act and startle him by saying “Aaah-aahh!” clapping your hands. Immediately, right after, toss him a chew toy. Once he chews it tell him “Good boy” in a praising matter.
“It really comes back to why it’s happening,” Dr. Pachel says. “For any one of these issues, there might be multiple treatment options. Focusing on basic health care is a great start to at least minimizing some of these other issues. Then it’s a matter of watching your dog carefully and making that educated decision about when to have him evaluated by a veterinarian.”
Other animal parts: These may be good or bad depending on the source. When in doubt, ask your vet about the safety of a chew. As a general rule, safer animal part chews include aortas, tendon, gullet, and tripe. Ears are more controversial as they are closer to rawhide as far as digestibility goes (plus, pig ears especially tend to contain a lot of fat). Some animal horns will soften when chewed and fray into small pieces that are digestible, but these should be used with caution.
1. Rule out medical problems. The first step is to make sure that your puppy does not have any serious medical problems. Nutritional deficiencies caused by poor diet and/or intestinal parasitism can lead to pica which may be misconstrued as inappropriate chewing. Gastrointestinal problems may cause nausea which can trigger chewing as a coping mechanism. Therefore it is important to make an appointment with your veterinarian to rule out an underlying medical condition that may be causing or contributing to the dog chewing.
A longtime favorite among many dog owners, Kong toys are known for their durability and come in different "strengths" and sizes. The Classic Kong (featured in the photo above) can also be filled with dry or canned/wet food. (Check out some of the other "stuffing" recipe ideas on the Kong website.) You can even freeze the toys with the stuffing inside in order to extend your dog's play time as they try to scoop out every last bit — plus freezing Kongs can help soothe the pain for a teething puppy.
The “Collar Grab Game” teaches your puppy that he gets rewarded for staying calm when being touched. If at any time during the game he gets excited and mouths your hand, stand up for a minute, then start again. Ask your puppy to sit in front of you and give him a treat for sitting. Then begin to reach your hand towards his collar — but not all the way. Move your hand back, then give him a treat. Repeat this a few times and watch to see what your puppy is doing. Is he turning to bite your hand, or is focusing on the food and sitting? Keep practicing over a few days until you can reach forward and hold his collar or pet his head without him turning his head to mouth. Be sure to practice this with both hands.
Be gentle! A few training books are still on the market that advocate inhumane methods for stopping destructive behaviors, such as putting duct tape around a pet’s mouth or physically hitting a dog. Needless to say, there is no excuse for such corrections. Not only are they extremely unfair, they’re ineffective. The use of proper management (for instance, crating a dog when he is not under your direct supervision), along with proper exercise, takes care of 99 percent of destructive behavior problems.
A pharmacist in 1960 invented this famous product that should deter dogs from chewing up their itchy skin or any other surface. It is the strong bitter flavor that will discourage your dog from chewing your precious furniture. Simply spray the product on all the surfaces you wish to be left undisturbed. The spray is harmless and will not stain your furniture. It can be found in any major pet store. Curiously though, it appears that some dogs are not bothered by the flavor and some have been reported to even like it!
Excellent results have been obtained by using the following exercise to re-orient the dog’s chewing habits. Take away all of the dog’s former chewies, and replace them with a meat-scented nylon bone (NylaboneTM is one such toy). Make this bone the focus of a fetch and play session at least twice a day. The combination of the owner’s scent with the meat scent makes it an appealing object on which to chew. Since the toy bone has now become the focus of intense interaction between the dog and the owner, the vast majority of dogs will aim their chewing at it.
There are many chews on the market today that can be considered safer for dogs because they are digestible and not too hard for teeth. It is important to remember that even large chunks from digestible chews can still cause GI upset or blockage. Always supervise your dog after giving it chews. If the dog seems to be swallowing large chunks, take the chew away. Furthermore, if the dog develops vomiting, diarrhea, or other signs of illness, see your vet right away.